SMART Office Coordinates Nation's Efforts To Register and Monitor Sex Offenders

Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking

There are few things more difficult to understand than the sexual victimization of a child. These crimes are committed by both family members and strangers and range from inappropriate touching to sexual assault and rape. Although sexual abuse of youth is not a new problem, access to the Internet and the proliferation of communications technology have changed the way predators target youth and changed the kinds of risks youth face.

Since the early 1990s, the registration of sex offenders and public notification of their presence in communities have emerged as important tools for monitoring convicted sex offenders and preventing their continued victimization of others. In 2006, Congress passed the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act (AWA), which strengthened federal laws to protect children and vulnerable adults from sexual and other violent crimes, prevent child pornography, and make the Internet safer for children.

Title I of the Act, the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), provides a comprehensive set of minimum standards for sex offender registration and notification in the United States. SORNA aims to close potential gaps and loopholes that existed under previous law and generally strengthens the nationwide network of sex offender registration and notification programs.

Section 146 of AWA established the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking (SMART Office), which oversees and supports the nation's efforts to improve sex offender registration and management. Located in the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs, the SMART Office—

  • Is responsible for all matters related to the administration and implementation of SORNA.
  • Administers grant programs related to the implementation of SORNA as well as other grant programs targeted toward sex offender management.
  • Cooperates with and provides technical assistance to states and other public and private entities related to sex offender registration and notification and other measures for the protection of the public, both juveniles and adults, from sexual abuse or exploitation. (For more information about available technical assistance, please contact the SMART Office policy advisor for your jurisdiction.)
  • Photo of speaker at SMART Office's 2010 Symposium.
    Erin Runnion, Founding Director of the Joyful Child Foundation, speaks at the SMART Office's 2010 Symposium. The life of Ms. Runnion's 5-year-old daughter was tragically cut short in 2002 following an abduction and sexual assault.
    Sponsors an annual workshop and symposium on topics relating to sex offender management and the implementation of SORNA.
  • Maintains a Web site that offers information on SORNA-related topics, including—

Resource:

For more information on the SMART Office, visit its Web site.